Vaclav Havel: iconoclast and philosopher king, an internationally successful playwright who became a political dissident and then, reluctantly, a president. His pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution and the modern Czech Republic makes him a key figure of the twentieth century. Michael Zantovsky was one of Havel's closest confidants. They lived through the revolution and during Havel's first presidency. Zantovsky was his press secretary, speech writer and translator. Their friendship endured until Havel's death in 2011, making him a rare witness to this most extraordinary life. About the author Michael Zantovský is the current Czech Ambassador to the Court of St James. He was among the founding members of the movement that coordinated the overthrow of the communist regime. In January 1990 he became the spokesman, press secretary and advisor to his lifelong friend, President Václav Havel. He has combined a career in politics and the foreign service with work as an author and translator into Czech of many contemporary British and American writers.